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Ancient Germanic Female Deities

Loki and Idun by John Bauer

Here is a list of ancient Germanic goddess and personifications. There is some overlap with the goddesses of the Norse pantheon, and I've limited it to those names that I think would wear well today on modern babies. Of the following names, only the following were used in 2016. Sol was given to 91 girls, Ran to 5 girls, Saga to 9 girls, and Beyla to 6 girls.

Beyla - as a possible agricultural personification, her name could mean "cow," "bean," or "bee," but she has been associated with bees and mead, so my guess is "bee." However, there's been a proposed connection to the reconstructed Proto-Norse name Baunila, which means "little bean." This is also a Spanish and Italian girls name.

Fulla - possibly means "bountiful." Her other name is Volla, which I think is equally accessible as a name. She is a virgin goddess in Old Norse mythology.

Gersemi - means "treasure." She is daughter of Freyja.

Hariasa - pronounced HAR-ee-ah-sah, this sounds a bit like Harriet. Strictly a Germanic goddess, not much is known about her.

Idunn - from Norse mythology, this is the goddess of apples and youth, wife of the god Bragi. The core idea of her may go back even further in time.

Nanna - quite possibly means both "woman, mother," and "daring one, she who empowers." The most well known fact about Nanna was her deep love for her husband, the god Baldr.

Ran - a personification of the sea, her name is pronounced to rhyme with "con" or the name Han (Solo). Her name means "robber." Her husband is Aegir.

Saga - pronounced the same in English, this name might be the most intuitive for Americans. Her name means "seeress," like an oracle. It was proposed that Saga was another name for the goddess Frigg, Odin's wife, but Saga was seen as a sage and possibly had a great command of poetry.

Sif - Thor's wife. Her name means "affinity, connection by marriage." She was known for her amazing golden hair.

Sigyn - pronounced SIG-in, this was Loki's wife. Her name means "victorious female friend." She may date back to a much older Germanic pagan goddess.

Sol, Sunna - Sunna is pronounced SOON-uh. Meaning "sun," she is the sun personified in Germanic myth. She may date all the way back to the Nordic Bronze Age.

Tamfana - tahm-FAH-nuh, whose name might mean "pine tree." She was probably a moon goddess or mother goddess, and may have originally been linked to older goddesses, maybe even the Punic and Phoenician goddess Tanit.

Zisa - which I recently wrote about here, was likely Ziu/Tyr's wife. She has her own unique Germanic story.


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